AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – “I cried for like 30 minutes,” Melissa Boatwright said.
Boatwright spent her Sunday evening crying as she looked through her sixth-grade daughter’s phone after listening in on her child’s conversation.
“I kind of asked her, ‘What are you talking about? What thing on Instagram?’ She was like, ‘Oh, nothing.’ So, I don’t normally violate her privacy. I felt like I had a reason to,” Boatwright said.
She had a great reason, it turned out. Boatwright found multiple Instagram accounts created with Monelison Middle School’s name and several posts making inappropriate comments about children and teachers.
“The kids were just really, really being mean to each other. It was just beyond being mean,” Boatwright said.
The Amherst County mother took her frustration out on Facebook warning other parents.
“I just posted from one sad mom that maybe some kids might need a hug tonight,” Boatwright said.
Boatwright says she called Amherst County Public School leaders too, prompting a letter from the principal telling parents they know about the cyber-bullying accounts.
“They’re trying to do some investigations based off the posts and identify some of the students and have some conversations,” assistant superintendent William Wells said.
Wells told 10 News their investigation found some posts are more than 19 weeks old.
School officials said once people got wind of a certain account, the creators would simply create a new one.
“It’s a cat and mouse game. We just catch them when we can,” Wells said.
School officials are asking parents to be more aware of what their kids are doing online.
Boatwright says it’ll take a village to fix this problem and it’s a challenge she and other parents are up for.
“We’re trying to get together and see what we can do, in a way different. Just something different to reconnect with the kids and reconnect with each other,” Boatwright said.
Boatwright says they are planning a community meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.